Driving business outcomes: the truth is out there


So you want to achieve business outcomes, and very likely data and analytics can help. But how? You know what you want to achieve, but you are not experts in data and analytics. We are experts of data and analytics, but we don’t know what you want to achieve. How can we solve this?

The truth is out there

The only reason anyone ever buys software is to achieve a business outcome. Which one? We don’t know. But our customers do.

A few years ago, before I joined SAS, I was demonstrating some software to a potential new customer. We got no reaction from our customer – until we showed him a view of his data through a map. Suddenly he came back to life – he was delighted and excited. But I didn’t know why.

So I asked him about the three key business outcomes he was looking for. His answers:

  • I need this software to work for me as a communication tool. Since we’re a communications company, it has to be really fancy to cut through the noise.
  • We don’t currently have this map view, so that’s a gap your solution can fill.
  • It needs to be easy to put in place as I will be managing it myself.

Perspectives matter

That day taught me an important lesson. Customers don’t care so much about features and functions, but they really care about how they deliver business outcomes and business value. That day changed forever the way I worked with my customers.

Can data and analytics help deliver our customers’ business outcomes? Very likely, but how? We don’t know – but often they don’t either. Together we can find the answer. That means collaborating, working together and learning to speak the same language. 

How? Well, that’s something we do know how to do.

Delving into the how

At SAS, we run design thinking workshops with our customers to understand their needs, opportunities and challenges and to identify what they can do with data and analytics. They follow these three steps:

  1. We facilitate an inspiration session to open the minds of our customers to the possibilities of big data and advanced analytics. How are we helping companies of the same industry to achieve their business objectives? What benefits have they achieved from these initiatives?
  2. We run sessions to understand our customers’ business. What are their strategic objectives, opportunities and challenges? How can they use data and analytics to address these opportunities and challenges? How do they prioritise their objectives, and what outcomes do they expect? And, finally, what KPIs will these changes affect?
  3. We present the functional, software and architecture road map to achieve the prioritised value drivers. And we calculate the financial benefits they can achieve.
At SAS, we run design thinking workshops with our customers to understand their needs, opportunities and challenges and to identify what they can do with data and analytics. They follow three steps. Click To Tweet

We run these workshops at no cost for hundreds of customers in Northern Europe every year. We have found that this approach is the main way – perhaps the only way – for SAS and our customers to discover together how data and analytics can help their businesses deliver the right outcomes.

After a recent engagement, I went around the table asking our customers about their opinion of the workshops. One of them answered: “This is the first time a software vendor has spoken about us before speaking about themselves. You understand us.” That’s the best gift I’ve ever received from a customer.

The truth is out there – if you ask the right questions

So if you want to discover how data and analytics can drive value for your business, ask your SAS representative for the Business Value team to deliver this tailored approach for your division or company.


About Author

Frédéric Labat

Frédéric has 20 years’ experience in Business Intelligence, analytics, Big data and Artificial Intelligence. He is responsible of a fantastic team of consultants in the NEMEA Business Value team. He is convinced our aim is to address the customer strategic objectives, by listening and inspiring them.

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